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Police on alert for sex crimes during large conventions

Tennessee residents may be aware that police had been closely watching the deluge of visitors who came to the City of Nashville to attend the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association recently. Over 70,000 members were expected to attend the meeting. According to reports, such large events allegedly attract sex traffickers and thus may become a setting where individuals may be charged with sex crimes.

Sex trafficking is defined as engaging in a commercial sex act through force or fraud. The term also applies if the victim taking part in the act is a minor under the age of 18 or has been coerced into taking part in it. According to law enforcement, even without the convention and the corresponding influx of visitors into the city, sex trafficking is a huge problem across Tennessee. Historically, sex trafficking has been on the rise wherever major national political or sporting conventions or any other large gatherings take place that bring in people from out of town.

As an example, in the days preceding the Super Bowl this year, police in 17 states conducted operations that resulted in the arrest of about 600 people for sex crimes. In Tennessee, according to authorities, the issue of sex trafficking is so pervasive and a year-round issue not just during large events, that the state legislature passed a law that made it possible for police to charge not only the victims' handlers with sex trafficking crimes but also those individuals who were purchasing the sex acts from the victims.

In fact, last year in October a 33-year-old man was the first to be convicted under this new for soliciting sex. Being charged with a sex crime is a very serious charge with long-term consequences for the accused. Even allegations of sexual misconduct can be potentially damaging. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding one's arrest, it may be wise for the accused to contact a criminal defense attorney to ensure that one's rights are protected in the face of aggressive prosecution.

Source: The Tennessean, "Big conventions, like NRA, can draw sex trafficking," Anita Wadhwani, April 13, 2015

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